Six quit Arlesey council in protest

A COUNCIL chairman who was suspended from office on Monday over his conduct has resigned from his position, with five councillors quitting in support.

Hugh Harper, who had been chairman of Arlesey Town Council for five years, quit his position at a meeting in the village hall on Tuesday.

Town councillors Doreen Archer, Christina and Richard Harris, Leanne Bowskill and Ian Dalgarno also resigned in support of Mr Harper.

The move comes after Central Bedfordshire Council’s (CBC) standards sub-committee suspended Mr Harper from the town council for four weeks.

A spokesman for CBC said: “A hearing took place to consider two complaints that had been submitted about the conduct of Cllr Harper.

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“The sub-committee decided that on a number of occasions between July and October 2010 Cllr Harper had failed to treat staff employed by Arlesey Town Council with respect, contrary to the town council’s code of conduct.”

The complaints were made by two members of council staff, including clerk Elsie Hare.

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“We have had to put up with continual bad behaviour from Mr Harper,” she said.

“We have had to work often under great stress.”

Mr Harper, who had been a town council member for eight years, said he will appeal the sub-committee’s decision.

“I feel there is so much wrong with the council at the moment,” he said.

“I feel rather sad that this has come about and sad that I can’t work for the residents.

“I did 90 per cent of the work at the council.”

Mrs Harris, who had been a council member for six years, said: “Hugh has done so much work for this town and it’s non-stop.

“He’s dedicated his life to it whilst he’s been doing it. No one can replace Hugh.

“He’s heartbroken because he’s got things he wanted to see through.”

She continued: “It’s a very sad time. We are not letting Arlesey down. We are leaving because we support Arlesey and we want the council to work well and efficiently. Because we can’t get that, we don’t want anything to do with it.”

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